The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 149 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wlikinson, William Fichtner, Barry Pepper, James Badge Hale, Helena Bonham Carter, Ruth Wilson
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by:Justin Haythe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 17, 2013
Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer star in The Lone Ranger, from Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Director Gore Verbinski. It’s a wild ride of high velocity action, explosions and gunfights that brings the famed masked legend to life through brand-new eyes. The Lone Ranger (Hammer), the last of his kind, teams with Tonto (Depp), a dark and mysterious vigilante, to seek vengeance after justice has failed them. It’s a runaway train of epic surprises, as these two unlikely heroes must learn to work together before the ultimate showdown between good and evil explodes.
I have made no bones about my tolerance for actions films that favor style over substance especially if I like the cast and the vision of the director. Growing up I remember seeing the reruns of The Lone Ranger TV series and while they were fine if nothing else was on I can’t say that I found the show of characters to be all that entertaining. I did however like the idea of the masked hero and his sidekick and when I saw that Disney and the makers of the Pirates of the Caribbean films series were bringing them to the big screen I kept an open mind despite seeing teaser trailers that didn’t inspire me to want to see it theatrically.
The narrative is an origin story as told to a young boy in the early 1930’s at a San Francisco carnival by an elderly Tonto who works as a live attraction at a western exhibit. It is most definitely a buddy action/comedy flick that follows the two characters detailing who they are, how they came together, and most importantly the impetus for the justice seeking duo that they become. The various plot points smack of convention but what western doesn’t? The integrated humor is exactly what you would expect from Johnny Depp whose quirky take on Tonto goes a little left of center more often than not but is spot within the film’s thematic context. That isn’t to not give credit where it’s due to Armie Hammer and to a lesser degree Helena Bonham Carter who steals each of her few scenes.
The levity doesn’t interfere in the film’s central plot/theme built around a post-civil war west that derives its storyline from the greed that began with the discovery of silver and the beginnings of rail travel which led power hungry tycoons to align themselves with outlaws in furtherance of their agendas. The script contains elements of drama, mild romance, suspense, thrills and an abundance of action which at times reaches over the top. Is it a little silly? Sure, but if you’re open to summer blockbuster style entertainment infused with a throwback type story, convention be damned, there is lots of un to found here. In addition to Depp and Hammer who have great onscreen chemistry the remaining members of the cast, the aforementioned Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilikson and the always reliable William Fichtner are all terrific in support.
Sparing no expense the film was shot on location in the American South West and features big ticket stunts and special effects that capably enrich the proceedings. The backdrop for many of the film’s sequences, are simply gorgeous and play an integral role as important as any character. This certainly isn’t classic filmmaking nor is it intended to be. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is intended to be fan friendly popcorn entertainment. In that light it succeeds admirably.
The rating is for sequences intense action and violence and some suggestive material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Lone Ranger comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 6.3 mbps.
This is a reference quality high definition transfer that looks spectacular. Images are transparent with exquisite detail and a near infinite sense of depth. Close ups and mid-level shots are incredibly detailed and revealing of even the subtlest nuance visible within facial features, clothing, and objects/backgrounds within the frame. The wide angle shots of the sprawling sun drenched vistas look absolutely stunning. Fidelity is never in question regardless of the camera’s perspective. Colors are kept within the scope of the time frame which means lots of browns, grays, and blacks. The stylized color palate deemphasizes primaries but the dusty earth tones have a rewarding quality nonetheless. Skin tones are on the vanilla side but texturally revealing. Blacks are rich, gradationally strong and dynamic which helps them pop during sequences that contained both light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal discerning shapes and structure in backgrounds/objects. I found this to be an impressive and pristine quality high definition video offering that left an impression.
This 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to give their systems a workout. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging is excellent. This drew out both large and small sound elements and allowed their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. Near field sounds are accurately placed within the sound field which gives them multi-dimensional perspective that places you right in the middle of the action.
At times the room is illuminated with an array of sounds that are both directional and ambient in nature. I appreciated the attention to detail that went into creating the surround mix as it effectively replicates the environments and aural placement featured in the film. Bass is rich, authoritative, and room energizing as it accentuates the audio’s superb dynamic range with palpable impact. Hans Zimmer’s music score enlivens the action with an airy, detailed and sibilant free presence that is never intrusive but is overtly involving. This is a terrific audio/video presentation that truly enhanced my enjoyment of this film.
- (HD) Armie’s western road trip – 14 minute featurette
- (HD) Becoming a cowboy – 8 minute production featurette
- (HD) Riding the rails of The Lone Ranger – 10 minute production featurette
- (HD) Deleted scene (CGI pre-visualization)
- (HD) Bloopers – 4 minutes
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
From the filmmakers that brought us the Pirates of the Caribbean films, The Lone Ranger is a big scale buddy/action comedy with a throwback style emphasis that is underscored by solid chemistry by stars Johnny Depp and Armis Hammer. Its bloated runtime and conventional script might put some off but I enjoyed its engaging action, fun interplay, well placed cast and superb production design. Speaking of superb its high definition presentation from Disney Home Video looks and sounds marvelous featuring a sparking video quality and an invigorating 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master surround mix. The supplemental package is noticeably light providing only a glimpse behind the scenes and limited cast/crew feedback. Nonetheless The Lone Ranger is recommended if for no other reason than to check out its great presentation on Blu-ray.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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